You are probably here because you are researching if meal preparation or ‘meal prep’ is for you.
The short answer is yes.
Balanced healthy meal prep can be for everyone; whether you’re looking to eat healthier, save money, or save time; whether you prepare the meals yourself or have them prepared. Meal prep can solve many problems.
Meal prep helps driven; career, family, and/ or goal-oriented people to become: a little less busy, a little more healthy, and much more productive.
Here are 6 ways meal prep improves productivity:
- Eliminate Decision Anxiety
We are faced with a daily barrage of food-based decisions.
Should I eat breakfast or skip it? Do I bring my lunch, or get out of the office? If I do go out for lunch will I drive or walk?
I brought my lunch but my supervisor is taking orders for my favorite sandwich spot. Maybe I’ll save the lunch for tomorrow and get my favorite sandwich?
Work was so exhausting, I think I might order something. Maybe I shouldn’t, I spent too much on eating out last month; but do I really have the energy to cook?
Do I really want to wait for an Uber Eats driver? Maybe I’ll hit a drive-thru.
Do these thoughts sound familiar? Don’t worry you’re not alone. A 2019 study by One Poll found that Americans spend 240 hours a year just THINKING about what they’re going to eat. That’s 40 minutes a day! If you have your meals ready, you will save yourself nearly an hour’s worth of mental energy.
- Curb Cravings
That same study found that we are most likely to crave sweet snack food around 2:41 pm. This may be because our alertness, in general, is at a low point around 3 pm during the workday according to Harvard Business Review’s study on Circadian rhythms. We may think this snack is going to give us the energy boost we need for the rest of the day. However, data from 31 studies on nearly 1,300 adults suggests that a sweet midday treat will have the exact opposite effect you’re hoping for, draining your energy further while you fight to keep your eyes open, hypnotized by the clock, counting down the minutes until you can head home or to the nearest couch.Prepared meals will help you anticipate and eliminate this energy suck in disguise.
- Increase Energy
We’ve already highlighted how you can save 40 minutes’ worth of mental energy daily. You can also save energy by avoiding the energy crash that comes with sweet afternoon treats. But, that’s not even the biggest way meal prep will improve your energy level.For foods to provide you energy, you need to eat the right ones at the right time. There’s nothing worse than skipping meals. Your body needs fuel, just like a car. If you don’t provide it, your body will break down muscle tissue to generate it; which goes without saying isn’t the ideal form of weight loss.”Never let your tank get on empty,” says Dan Benardot, PhD, RD, FACSM, a nutrition researcher and professor of nutrition at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “It is very important to maintain a normal blood sugar, and the best way to accomplish this is to eat every few hours.” Properly planning your meals through meal prep will help you use food as a fuel to the well-oiled machine that is you.
- Improve Emotional Health
Your gastrointestinal tract produces about 95 percent of your serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate your moods among several other vital functions. Whether you’re writing code or networking with potential clients, being in a good mood is essential. Meal prep will help keep you on balance, and a balanced mind is a productive mind.
- Clear Mind
High-fat snacks have an adverse effect on your brain. Your body’s digestive system needs to work overtime to process unhealthy foods, which reduces the oxygen levels that should be going to your brain. This can affect your ability to concentrate. Don’t forget, too, that the brain doesn’t get the vitamins it needs with nutrient impoverished foods, further reducing its function. Meal prep can help you avoid these pitfalls that leave us in a fog.
- Save Money, Accomplish More
Meal prep will save you money. If you are saving money you can either put that savings toward an investment or just stack your chips (don’t eat ‘em, unless they’re Kale, then in moderation). The more money we have in our account, the more leverage we have in life. You can use this leverage, clear mind, improved emotional health, and increased energy to achieve more than you have before. Meal prep can be a key factor in helping you live your life how you want.
Meal preparation will help you take control of your life and become less reactionary. Proactivity leads to productivity!
What are some of the benefits you’re looking to achieve through meal prep? Let us know in the comments.